ThunderWolves celebrate Girls & Women in Sports Day Saturday; Jessie Banks wins a Sportswomen of Colorado Award

ThunderWolves celebrate Girls & Women in Sports Day Saturday; Jessie Banks wins a Sportswomen of Colorado Award

PUEBLO, Colo. (February 8, 2018) - Saturday, Colorado State University-Pueblo Athletics will celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day at the ThunderWolves women's and men's basketball games beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Pack will also be honoring legendary coach Jessie Banks, who recently received the Sportswomen of Colorado Dorothy Mauk Pioneer Award.

At Saturday's Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contests against Westminster College, all youth girls ages 18 and under wearing a local sport jersey or uniform will receive a free general admission ticket. 

During the game and at halftime, Banks will be honored for her tireless dedication to equality for women in athletics. She has spent her life playing and teaching the game of basketball, volleyball and many others so generations of girls and women after her have the opportunity to compete at the highest level. 

On Monday, Feb. 5, Banks was recognized by the Sportswomen of Colorado as the Dorothy Mauk Pioneer Award winner. She will be honored at the 44th Annual Sportswomen of Colorado Awards Celebration Sunday, March 11 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.

Also, earning the college coach of the year award from the organization is former CSU-Pueblo Head Women's Basketball Coach, Jim Turgeon. Turgeon guided the ThunderWolves to a record breaking 28-4 2016-17 season, an RMAC Regular Season Championship and a trip to the semifinals of the NCAA South Central Region Championships, which CSU-Pueblo hosted.


Banks is recognized as the most influential person in the creation of women's athletics at CSU-Pueblo (then known as the University of Southern Colorado). She arrived at the school in 1966, and became the first ever coach in women's basketball and volleyball at CSU-Pueblo. She was also the softball and track & field coach, and served as an Assistant Athletic Director.

In 1979 she was named RMAC Volleyball Coach of the Year in just the second year volleyball was recognized as a conference sport. That year Banks helped Southern Colorado to the East Division championship, a feat they would repeat in1980.  

In women's basketball, her 1978-1979 squad won the RMAC East Division with a 7-1 RMAC record. They also won the East in 1980-81. Banks used her influence to help USC land the first ever AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) small college national basketball tournament. That same year USC played in the tournament.

Banks earned her Masters degree from Adams State in 1966, and undergraduate degree from Central State (Okla.) in 1962. She was also a professor at USC from 1966-1996.

Banks played professional basketball for the  "All-American Redheads," between 1954 and 1959. She was at the induction ceremony as the team was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. in 2012. She is a member of the Lindsay (Okla.) High School Hall of Fame, the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports Hall of Fame, the Greater Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame and the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame (charter member in 2008). The school's female athlete of the year award is named in honor of Banks.


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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.